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Brad
Brad, Dealership Technician
Category: Chrysler
Satisfied Customers: 8064
Experience:  19 Yrs Chrysler/Dodge Technician..ASE Master Certified(L-1)
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I have a 2006 Chrysler 300 with the 5.7 Hemi. It was running

Customer Question

I have a 2006 Chrysler 300 with the 5.7 Hemi. It was running strong with no issues. When I tried to start it the other day, all I got was a "click." I can hear the solenoid activate and push the plunger out, and it hums as long as the key is turned, but the engine does not turn over. The battery is fine... it's new, and I had it tested and it showed good, but I put a spare battery in it anyway, and got the same result. I had the starter bench tested, and it was also good. But I put a new starter on it anyway, and got the same result. I have 12.5 volts at the starter solenoid power cable, and I have 12.5 volts at the signal wire to the starter solenoid whenever the key is turned. (So to me, this seems the park/neutral sensor, starter relay, etc. are all working fine.) I checked the ground wires and all were fine, but I used a jumper cable to run a ground wire directly from the negative cable from the battery directly to the starter. This didn't help.The engine has 120k miles on it and has been well maintained. The oil is good, the water level is good, and it never got hot... so there's no reason for the engine to be seized or hydrolocked. It was turning over just fine 5 seconds before it wasn't.Any advice would be appreciated.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Chrysler
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I forgot to mention... this vehicle has a single starter/solenoid assembly -- it's all one piece inside of one body. Due to the design, there is only one post on the side of the solenoid (not the end), so it cannot be jumped with a screwdriver like many can.
Expert:  Mechanic01 replied 2 months ago.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I will be assisting you with all of your vehicle questions today. Give me one moment while I review your question and come back with a answer. Please be aware I do not know your skill level or abilities so I will be asking a lot of questions and in a lot of cases we will respond to each other quite a lot before we find a solution. As far as phone calls are concerned that is the system prompting you, not me, and they do cost more money, I prefer text but in some cases a phone call is required. Sounds like you need a starter

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Hi Shawn. I don't need a new starter... I already removed the starter and had it bench tested. It was good. I tried a brand
new starter anyway, and got the same result.
Expert:  Mechanic01 replied 2 months ago.

you may have a amp drop issue if your getting 12v and no start, there must not be enough amps, so your loosing it in the cables somewhere, I would do a amp drop test and see what you get

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Right... I thought of that. I ran a cable directly from the new battery to the positive post on the starter, and ran a direct ground from the negative post to the ear of the starter in case there was a bad ground somewhere. Neither of these gave a different result.
Expert:  Mechanic01 replied 2 months ago.

somethings weird so you have bench tested that starter and its fine but applying voltage with it on the truck it does absolutely nothing?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
When I turn the key, the lights dim and the dash lights go out (as they always do... this is normal). The starter clicks, but the engine does not crank. It's a loud click -- the sound that comes when the plunger activates, not the soft click from the starter relay. The solenoid clicks, then the starter will hum softly as long as the key is turned (I'm guessing this is the sound from the energized solenoid keeping the bendix gear extended). It's a soft hum like an electrified transistor, not a loud hum like the starter is spinning freely. The bendix gear looks fine, and the teeth of the ring gear look fine too.Yes... I had the starter bench tested. I also tried a new starter.
Expert:  Mechanic01 replied 2 months ago.

have you tried turning the engine over by hand at the crank to make sure your motor isnt locked up

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
that wasn't the issue.
Expert:  Mechanic01 replied 2 months ago.

still sounds like a starter to me

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
But remember... I already installed a replacement starter. Both starters do the same thing.
Expert:  Mechanic01 replied 2 months ago.

what else could it be? the only other thing is that starter isnt lining up and thats almost impossible to do on that, and bench test and test under a load are 2 different things

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Right... I was thinking the same thing. I didn't have the brand new starter bench tested, but I figured the likelihood that a starter that passes a bench test but fails a load test and a new out-of-the-box starter failing would be too unlikely to consider that a 3rd starter is needed.
Expert:  Mechanic01 replied 2 months ago.

what brand of starter are you getting? and is it reman

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
the starter is OEM new.
Expert:  Mechanic01 replied 2 months ago.

well im out of ideas ill open this back up to the other techs for assistance

Expert:  Brad replied 2 months ago.

Good afternoon and welcome to JustAnswer!!

My name is ***** ***** I have worked for a Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep dealership for 19 years and I will do my best to help.

Can you do me a favor and roll back the carpet on the passenger side floorboard against the firewall and locate the B+ wire and tell me if the nut there is tight and corrosion free?

Talk soon,

Brad

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thanks, Brad. I'm not with the car tonight, but will check that nut and let you know what I find. However, I have a significant update to the story. I tried again to turn the engine by hand, and it now will not turn. I took the belt off, took the spark plugs out, and I already had the starter off. So I am guessing the engine should not have much resistance at this point. I put a 1/2" ratchet on the crank bolt in the harmonic balancer. With some effort, it would not turn clockwise -- I didn't want to overdo it but I probably put 100 lb. of torque on it, and it didn't move. I tried to turn it counterclockwise just to see if it would move, and it started backing out the bolt. Just using my hand on the pulley, it wouldn't move either direction.To me, this seems like the engine is seized. What would cause an engine to seize all of a sudden, when it was turned off?
Additional background: It was running perfectly when I stopped to get gas. There was no miss, it has never run hot, there was no valve knock or ping, there was no "check engine" light -- nothing like that. I have had the car since it was almost new, and have never had any mechanical issues. It has never been in water, and it wasn't raining nor did I go through any puddles or anything that could have pulled water into the engine that day (or any other day). I haven't drained the oil, but it was in good shape when I changed it a couple weeks ago. It wasn't burnt, and no metal shavings, etc. The coolant level is good. When I took the spark plugs out, I put a screwdriver down into all the cylinders to see if maybe a fuel injector got stuck open and hydrolocked it (I'm not sure if that can happen), but all the cylinders were dry.The day the problem occurred: It was running strong and I stopped for gas at 1/4 tank. When I went to leave the gas station, the car cranked strong but did not start. I tried for several minutes to start it -- by this I mean I turned the key for a few seconds, wait several seconds, then try again. It cranked strong as I turned the key several times to start it. Then, all I got was a "click" that sounded like the starter engaged but didn't spin. I just figured I had drawn down the battery.A lot of questions are going through my head. Any idea what might be happening? Can a timing chain break upon starting the engine, and get jammed somehow to stop it from turning over? Could something jam at the flywheel? Is it even feasible that a connecting rod would break or valves would get damaged since the engine was only spinning at 100 rpm? (or whatever speed a starter turns an engine). Are there any electronics that could be stopping it from turning? I've never heard of an engine spontaneously seizing when it was turned off, if it wasn't abused or running without water or oil.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
A couple more details I forgot to mention. It has 120,000 miles and an automatic transmission. It's the rear-wheel driver version (not all-wheel drive).
Expert:  Brad replied 2 months ago.

At this point I would remove the timing cover and inspect for damages.. I suspect the timing chain tensioner has failed and the timing has jumped which is the reason you can't spin the engine...

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thanks, ***** ***** was my suspected next step though I was hoping for a different answer since it's a fair bit of work. If I find that it did jump time due to a failed tensioner, what are the odds that damage was done to the valves or pistons since it was very low RPMs when his happened? I'm wondering if I will possibly get away with changing the timing chain, or whether I'll also have to remove the heads for inspection.
Expert:  Brad replied 2 months ago.

If the tensioner has failed then the reason you can't spin it over is because the valves are hitting the piston. You will need to get the tensioner replaced, get it timed up and before installing the timing cover jump the starter relay and test compression of all the cylinders.. Any that are 0 psi will need the head removed to replace the valves..

If you need anymore assistance feel free to shoot me a reply and don't forget to RATE 5 Stars before leaving the site so I get credit for helping you today..

Have a great day,

Brad

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Brad,
One more follow-up question: Is there anything else that could reasonably be causing this? I'm trying to assess whether I should go ahead and break it down to inspect the timing chain, or whether it would be worth it to have it towed to a shop that can run a bore scope into it to see if it has certainly jumped time and whether significant damage was done... I'm guessing even just the tow/diagnosis would cost a few hundred dollars though.Your advice is appreciated.
Expert:  Brad replied 2 months ago.

Removing the timing cover is the next step I would do if was here in my bay at the dealership.. If you can't spin it with a 1/2 in pull handle then the timing is most likely the cause..

If you need anymore assistance feel free to shoot me a reply and don't forget to RATE 5 Stars before leaving the site so I get credit for helping you today..

Have a great day,

Brad

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Brad,
So I took the timing cover off today, and the timing chain looks fine. There are no metal shavings, the oil looked good, the tensioner is intact, and the engine had not jumped time (i.e. the colored linked were lined up like they're supposed to be). With the front cover off, I tried to turn the engine by hand, but it wouldn't turn. Any ideas or suggested next steps?
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Brad,
While waiting for your reply, I got a friend's help and took a few more steps to investigate today. I took the valve covers off, and all the push rods and rockers looked fine. None were bent, nor visually damaged. I also released the tensioner on the timing chain and checked if I could turn the engine. The cam would turn without a problem, but I could not turn the crank by hand. I also removed the shield from the flywheel to visually inspect it, and from what I could see, the flywheel looked fine.Finally, grasping at straws, I jacked up the rear of the car and tried to turn the rear wheels by hand. They both turned with the car in neutral, but would not turn with the car in gear (I'm not sure if this means anything).Looking forward to your advice on next steps to take.
Expert:  Brad replied 2 months ago.

Sorry for the delay!

If the engine will not turn either way left or right then it's locked down from the crankshaft, rods, pistons, etc. I would drop the oil pan and find the rod that is the darkest, or see if you have a bent rod and it hanging on the crankshaft. It should spin over at the very least with the prybar, and did you get a chance to drain the oil and inspect for any metal?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thanks, Brad.I did drain the oil when taking the timing cover off. The oil looked fine (still looked fresh, not dark, and no metal shavings).What does a dark rod mean? It got hot?
If there is a bent rod, is that repairable, or does it mean I need an engine rebuild? Yikes, I've never been that deep into an engine before.